Here's my solution to the question of legalizing same-sex marriage. Are you ready? Are you sure? I'm not, but I really believe this.
First, the problem all started when Uncle Sam stuck his nose into what ought to be a religious institution. Okay, I get the need for making parents financially and legally accountable for their offspring, as well as other questions of spousal responsibility. But otherwise, I think marriage ought to be up to religious institutions.
(Original photo used by permission of Mila Zinkova at Wikimedia Commons)
So here's what I propose: revert all current marriages to civil unions in the eyes of the law. All of them. This includes my own marriage, y'all, so don't think I'm being high and mighty here. (Chas and I were married by a judge.)
(Photos used by permission of Susan Roberts and Wiki edit Jonny at Wikimedia Commons and stolen from these guys as well)
Same-sex civil unions would be equal to man-woman civil unions in the eyes of the law. The government gets what it wants and goes its merry way, buh-bye. Marriage would no longer be a legal institution.
The rest is left to institutions of faith and to the couples themselves. All civil unions -- man-woman couples and same-sex partners alike -- would be free to sanctify their unions under the religion of their choice. This is key, however: no religious institution would HAVE to perform a marriage ceremony for ANYBODY. The churches would be free to define marriage according to their interpretation and faith. Anyone who had already been married by a priest, rabbi or minister would be both legally united and married in the eyes of their faith.
Also, while this is entirely my own original thinking, I can't say for a minute that it's new. I have no clue how many other people may have already committed these ideas to paper because honestly, I haven't researched. I've just been turning it over and over in my brain for a few months.
I'm ready for the slings and arrows now.